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Struggling to Get Help for a Son
The following conversation took place in mid 1997 in our discussion areas, but the experience and discussion is a common one at Schizophrenia.com.
Topic: Getting help for our adult son
Steve is now 33 and is suffering terribly. He is extremely paranoic,
he hears voices and has psychotic episodes of uncontrolable anger. Though
he has a history of substance abuse he has been clean and sober for more
than a year. He says that now drugs make him too paranoid. His behavior
has always been volital and antisocial. However in the past six months
he has lost his ability to cope with everyday life. His appearance has
deteriorated, he claims he is unable to sleep and claims that there are
surveilance devices everywhere keeping tract of everything he does. What
scares us most is that his psychotic episodes are much more intense and
frequent. He has threatned our lives. In his rational moments he is aware
he needs treatment but when his mother took him to the hospital for evaluation,
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997
Robert, and others...
This is obviously a common problem and I'd like to get all readers' input
on steps that we
Step 2. Document (write down, preferably on your computer so that
you can easily update
Step 3. Get in contact with the appropriate officials so that
they know about your son (in this case) - I'm thinking you should let
the police know who your son is, that he is missing
Step 4. If the officials don't seem to want to treat him, be sure
to let them formally know that you believe he is a threat to himself or
others (with your evidence documenting this fact)
Step 5. Repeat step 4. as often as necessary
Step 6. Don't give up on your son - be persistent because frequently the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Read through the archives of this discussion group and you'll see a lot of postings by Carol Wilson who has fought tirelessly to get appropriate treatment for her son. She is a good model.
Step 7. Learn as much about the illness as you can - review the
information at this web site, read some of the recommended books, and
subscribe to the free newsletter I put out.This
Other ideas folks?
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 11:18 AM
In additon to your excellent suggestions, I would like to add that you
cc your letters to the
Also, document every phone call you make or receive, including date, time, person, and relevant quotes and info. Be sure to quote yourself too, so it does not look one-sided and it will give you more credibility as a documenter.
IF you need to, follow up with a letter,"On such and such a day,
I understood you to say
So you put it in writing for them and create your own paper trail. Send all letter certified mail, return receipt requested. I learned a lot of this from DJ Jaffe's excellent posting here at the AMI/NY website. Be sure to thank everyone who helped you. The secretary of health and hospitals here never acknowledged personally any of my cc's, although he had people investigate, etc., until I sent ones of appreciation or of commendation for staff doing their jobs well. I also had read in the paper where he was engaged, so I sent a congratulatory letter. So, if a major event happens in a policy maker's life, be alert to it, and send them an appropriate letter. That way they see my name besides with a complaint or concern.
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 12:02 PM
My sympaties are with you during this most difficult part of the disease.
I have a suggestion based on your posting, although it may be difficult
to do. You said that your son had
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 04:22 PM
I am going to suggest two options, neither of which are pleasant. My
The first time we hospitalized him involuntarily was because he pushed
my 82 yr. old father lightly. I called the police the next day who put
me in touch with the local mental hospital, who
The second time, I realized (& I talked this over with my father
and a psychiatrist) that I
The second option (which we did not use) and may be considered unethical. Before he pushed my dad, my dad & I met with a psychologist we knew and described my brother's symptoms. He figured it was schizophrenia, and told us that if the only way we could get him hospitalized was to lie, then we should Lie that he hurt one of us or himself. I was considering it, but within a couple of weeks he pushed my dad instead.
Check with your state mental health coordinator re: the criteria for committment in your state. Find a lawyer who deals with committment hearings for advice. If you're not located near an area with lawyers who deal in this, you're going to have to hope you have a coordinator who will literally speak to you in a way that will help you phrase the affidavit in a manner that will make your request for committment VERY strong.
GOOD LUCK, but remember, even if you get him in the hospital, you may
not be successful in getting him to take medicines, or even admit that
he is ill.
Date: Friday, April 04, 1997 08:46 PM
Dear Bob, Our son was just like Steve a year ago, nothing would convince
him to go to the hospital until we threatened to cut ourselves off from
him completely. He was stranded with no money and no place to live, all
his belongings in a Ryder Truck and no where to go and no way to pay for
the truck rental. He had moved out of the apartment in his cousin's house
where he had been living because he was convinced that his cousin was
trying to control his thoughts and had stolen all his money and that the
people next door were spying on him.
We told him that we would do everything in our power to help him if he
would go to the
Date: Saturday, April 05, 1997 01:19 PM
And now for my two cents: The suggestions above are excellent. Added
tip: Most places where you send letters will honor your request if you
wish your letter to go in a certain place (your relative's hospital records;
counselors record on relative, etc.) Tip: If you are sending your letter
to a place where your relative has a record write in the letter the follow:
From: Carol Wilson
Date: Saturday, April 05, 1997 01:41 PM
Good point, Rose, about requesting the letter be added to the permanent records.
Also, as far as samples go, I have a host of them in my computer already.
Brian, if you
Date: Saturday, April 05, 1997 09:14 PM
Carol, Brian, others; As we all know when we are in a crisis, exhausted
or too emotionally drained to think it is very difficult to try and compose
a letter. In order not to duplicate
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 1997 12:16 PM
Robert, I just read your posting. I hope by now (3 weeks later) you have
been able to get